The FBHVC monthly report

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The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs represents our interests nationally, fighting for those who enjoy using their Classic Cars.

Robin Astle, our Club's FBHVC representative gives a monthly report on what's going on.

Robin Astle

July 2020

by Robin Astle.

From FBHVC Newsletter 2020 No. 3 & Press Release

Legislation by Ian Edmunds

General

As you are probably aware, I have in the short term taken on the role of Legislation Manager in addition to my DVLA liaison duties.

I do of course take over at what is a strange time for all of us, and sadly a very stressful time for some. It seems likely that by the time you are reading this a start at least will have been made on a return to normality. That said, normality may never be quite the same again!

Turning to business, the lockdown precautions have meant that very little has happened. Or, more accurately, very little appears to have happened. I feel very strongly that we should not be lulled into a false sense of security. The issues we faced at the beginning of the year have not gone away – they’ve just gone quiet! Indeed, it may be that following some weeks of legislators working quietly at home without the interruptions of a busy office some proposals have been enhanced. Thus, we remain as vigilant as ever and will respond appropriately as soon as there is anything to respond to!

Fuel

Earlier in the year the Federation responded to a consultation on the introduction of E10 petrol. This was in fact the second consultation on E10, the first, in 2018, was about what the Government should do to meet its obligation to introduce E10. The more recent one about how it should do it. The Federation responded in detail to the first consultation. After very careful consideration and a survey of our members our main request was for a 97 RON E5 protection grade fuel. We also made some suggestions regarding labelling and warnings. It was very apparent from the second consultation that all our points had been noted and acted upon so that was duly acknowledged in our further response.

Since then Sir Greg Knight MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group, has asked a written Parliamentary question regarding the protection grade and was assured by a DfT Minister that the government recognised that historic vehicles needed such a fuel. A few days later our President, Lord Steel, asked a similar Written Parliamentary Question. In that case the DfT reply went further and stated that the Government intended to make the continued availability of the protection grade fuel a legal requirement for five years, which is the longest period permitted before a review.

We have also learned from petroleum industry sources that the industry is very happy to supply this grade and that whilst the requirement will be for 97 RON minimum it is in practice more likely to be 99.

Clean Air Zones & Low Emission Zones

In addition, responses have been submitted to consultations on clean air or low emission zones in Bradford, Glasgow and in Scotland more generally. We have also replied to a Treasury Request for Evidence for the future assessment of VED. This primarily concerns new vehicles from some date in the future but the opportunity was taken to make the case for no changes affecting historic vehicles or others built before 2000.

LEZs & the London ULEZ

A response has also been submitted to a somewhat esoteric consultation concerning CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) and self-employed bus drivers.

In closing there is a question raised in the last issue of FBHVC News, Issue 2 of 2020, which I think we need to readdress.

“A Legal Conundrum” sets out the legal anomalies affecting both the existing Greater London LEZ and the London ULEZ, and the pending LEZs in Leeds and Birmingham.

As to the London ULEZ, it says that Bob Owen did not receive a satisfactory explanation. We should clarify that, though the explanation offered by TfL may indeed not have been legally satisfactory, it was entirely unambiguous. It stated, in part, that any vehicle registered with DVLA and taxed in the ‘historic vehicle’ tax class will be exempt. This was set out prominently in the Legislation Section of FBHVC News, Issue 4 of 2018.

The article in Issue 2 might have created renewed concern for members who wish to use their historic vehicle in any of these Zones.

In fact, all of the Zones referred to utilise software, of a common source, which is responsible, without human intervention, for reading number plates, identifying any vehicle which is both non-compliant and not exempt and issuing a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) to the Keeper of that vehicle. Registration is not a requirement for the system. The published advice to the public makes this clear. So, members do not require to, nor should they attempt to, register.

No-one will get a PCN by reason of not registering.

FBHVC PRESS RELEASE

Survey reveals vehicle clubs are turning to digital media to engage members during pandemic.

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has been supporting its member organisations with guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With the publication of the results of last month’s survey into the effects of pandemic upon historic vehicle clubs, the FBHVC is able to factually assess the impact of COVID-19 on the historic vehicle club community.

The results represent responses from nearly half of the 540 member organisations of the FBHVC and offer an insight into the effects of the pandemic, both financially and operationally, on historic vehicle clubs. The research survey also details the steps clubs are putting in place, to adapt to the very difficult challenges ahead.

Reacting to the results, David Whale, FBHVC Chairman said, “It was important for us to ensure that we understand the challenges that our historic vehicle clubs are facing in order to ensure that we are working in the right directions to support them. Also, that the results of this survey were published in detail in order that our member clubs can share inspiration and ideas. It has been impressive to discover just how creative and quick to adapt some clubs have been to keep their members engaged and supported throughout these difficult times. Clearly though, there are some concerns over the future of finances within some clubs so it is now that members should rally and support their clubs where possible to secure a healthy future for the historic vehicle movement on the other side.”

Financially, 53% of historic vehicle clubs have reported that, so far, their finances have not been affected. However, 40% are expecting a decrease in membership as a result of the pandemic’s restrictions on social events and difficult personal circumstances experienced by club members. A small proportion, (26%) have made or are considering making special arrangements concerning subscriptions in the future.

Events have been hard hit with an incredible number of cancellations. Over 10,000 club social gatherings and events having been cancelled during the past three months, in a list that ranges from major national fixtures to local area meets. The vast majority of clubs (69%) have been forced to cancel their major annual rally amidst concerns over managing social distancing requirements and the reluctance of many to attend potentially crowded venues in the near future. The cancellation of these events is responsible for the concerns of many of the clubs that reported expected financial impacts from COVID-19.

Overall, the survey respondents reported that clubs have significantly increased their activities on social media, online content creation and video conferences.

Many clubs also stated that they are taking special measures to keep in touch with older members as well, showing that clubs have really rallied around to care for the more vulnerable amongst the historic vehicle community.

The extra time afforded by lockdown has had some positive side effects however, with clubs reporting that within their membership, there has been strong evidence that many members have used the extra time to restart stalled restoration projects. Clubs have reacted to this by offering technical advice lines as well as spares groups and other support features for members undertaking restoration projects.

Communication has been a key focus for most historic vehicle cubs with many turning to the digital space in order to fill the void left by the lack of social gatherings and events. Just some of the initiatives reported back to the FBHVC included e-Newsletters, regular social media content and daily online articles. A couple of clubs have even created a podcast series to entertain club members and share fascinating interviews with the wider historic vehicle world.

Print has remained crucial. Many clubs have increased the page count of print magazines and produced more long form articles within them. This has made up part of a strategy to ensure that vitally important club magazines were able to entertain and inform in equal measure. Many clubs however, did balance that with a marked drop in advertising revenue.

To keep the social interaction high within clubs, FBHVC member organisations have used video conferencing extensively by utilising platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Clubs have held virtual events, broadcast guest speakers and even held ‘virtual pub quizzes.’

But the one to one nature of clubs has not been lost either, with many creating groups on WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and ensure that one-to-one phone calls are made regularly to check on how members are coping and to offer support where needed.

The survey also revealed some of the attitudes to the medium- and long-term future of club activities.

Regarding events; 61% of clubs are still hoping to hold some of sort of events later on in the year, a move also echoed by Clarion Events, who confirmed their intentions to proceed with the November NEC Classic Motor Show. The results also suggest that next year could prove to be a very busy one, with 50% of all the cancelled events from this year planning to be held in 2021, alongside what might have already been planned for that season.

A number of clubs are holding on-line Annual General Meetings, despite relaxation of Companies House rules on the requirements of AGMs. Only 35% of clubs responded to say that they were not taking any special action in the future to support members.

 

 

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